Arrears- tenant denies them; claims paid fully, in cash

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  • Arrears- tenant denies them; claims paid fully, in cash

    First of all I would like to introduce myself as a new member of the forum. I am 25 and own an investment property. I am really looking forward to learning from those more experienced than me so I know exactly where I stand, not least with tenancy issues!


    My concern is that a tenant I used to consider a friend rented my property. He signed an annual rolling contract, agreeing to pay £775 pcm. However, he began to pay late and generally be a bit of a handful. We fell out and he gave notice and moved out. To do date he still owes me the last month's rent (for June 2007). I have been chasing him countless times but he refuses to repay the money due to 'lack of funds'. I have grown weary and today I issued and served a Money Claim through the County Court.


    Was this the right move? I have claimed for the rent plus late fees stipulated in the contract as being £25 per week payment was not recieved. Is this possible?


    Tonight he has called me telling me that it is not possible that a judge will see in my favour for the amount owed. He also told me that he is going to claim that he gave me the cash. Surely he would need witnesses to prove that he gave me a specific amount of money, explicitly demonstrate it was for the purposes of rent payment or alternatively have a reciept to demonstrate that I had accepted a specified amount of money for the purposes of rent being paid?


    I am guessing you guys have been through the process (unfortunately :-( ) so could steer me in the right direction so I can strengthen my case because I am lost!



    Cheers

    Toby

  • #2
    The £25 per week is probably an unfair term and the judge may not order that; but no harm in trying.

    Do you have evidence of chasing the arrears? eg copies of letters; dates and times of calls, call logs? Did your tenant ever pay you in cash before? Find the evidence of previous payment methods. Does the tenant get paid in cash...ie does it make sense that he should have a huge bundle of notes lying around when it easier to pay by direct debit or cheque. If he doesn't have a receipt his defense is weak.
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    • #3
      The £25 per week is probably an unfair term and the judge may not order that; but no harm in trying.

      Do you have evidence of chasing the arrears? eg copies of letters; dates and times of calls, call logs? Did your tenant ever pay you in cash before? Find the evidence of previous payment methods. Does the tenant get paid in cash...ie does it make sense that he should have a huge bundle of notes lying around when it easier to pay by direct debit or cheque. If he doesn't have a receipt his defense is weak.

      I thought the £25 per week clause may be pushing it.

      My brother has copies of countless facebook messages he sent to him. The only issue is the messages mention rent amongst other things which total £2000. This worries me as I do not want the judge to find that this has made the case more complicated and thus harder judge upon.

      My tenant has paid cash before and also paid in to my account. However, without reciepts on his side or reciepts that I have given surely the courts cannot accept this to be sufficient proof that he has paid already??

      The tenant is a graphic designer and part-time worker at a bar so it would make sense for him to be paid via direct debit I suppose.


      How does my case look? Does my brother chasing him for other things make things more complex. The way I see it is that I have used mediators, namely my brother and another landlord and mentee of mine who will both provide witness statements to such effect. The other business my brother has with the tenant is not bound by contract and thus shouldn't the case really concern itself with the tenancy agreement which is the matter in hand and the only legal document the tenant is bound by?

      In correspondence the tenant confirms an unreliable nature by continuously saying he does not have the funds he had promised to pay. Will this assist in any way?


      Thanks again. I have learnt from my mistakes but I really do need the best chance at reclaiming this cash!


      Cheers

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      • #4
        Can't add much to what's been said already, but for the future it might be a good idea to have a seperate bank account into which you pay all rents taken - either by direct debit or cheque or cash. I also use the account to pay out expenses related to the business - because that's what it is. You can keep your statements and so have 'proof' whether or not your tenant has paid, how regularly and if on time.

        It helps to keep the money side of letting seperate to your personal banking as it makes it easier to see what's gone on over time, plus it's useful when it comes to your taxes. You can see if you've made a profit or a loss and how much.

        You can still take money out to cover mortgage payments/profits etc and you may find it's easier to support your case if you have such problems in the future.
        Last edited by bagpuss; 01-02-2008, 10:29 AM. Reason: added a bit

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